NetBSD on an old computer, day 2: configuring the system

NetBSD is not meant for those who are afraid of the command line. Unlike most of the Linux distributions, it does not install any tools for configuring the system. Well, actually there is one tool for the task: vi.

If vi is not the editor of your choice for your daily editing, you should have a cheat sheet of vi modes and shortcuts available before you install NetBSD. In addition to the cheat sheet, it would not do any harm to have the NetBSD Guide printed as well. I have printed a copy of the book two years ago, and that's what I intend to use as my reference for the configuration. And if I cannot solve some problem with it, it is good to have this debianized iBook for browsing the Internet!

The first thing to do on an just installed system is to add a user without root privileges. This is easily done with:

useradd -m mikko

Then I gave a password for Mikko:

passwd mikko

Next I changed the keyboard layout to the right one:

wsconsctl -k -w encoding=sv

And finally, I wanted to have the network up and running. I added two lines to /etc/rc.conf:


The second line starts ssh daemon on the boot. Next I rebooted the system and tried to open a ssh connection to another box. Nothing happened.

I read all kinds of man pages and the NextBSD guide for about ten minutes to find out if there was yet another text file to tweak before I would have the box connected to the world.

The solution was, however, quite simple. All I had to do was to connect the network cable to the computer.


Michael Douglas said...

I think I can say, with quite some authority, that we have ALL been there.

I look forward to hearing more about this, as I have an old Cyrix M-II with (oh my god) 128MB of RAM doing nothing.

Mikko said...

I suppose everyone has been there. But still, it made me feel stupid :D